What three and seven year old doesn’t like adventure? I recently took the boys to the Sertoma Butterfly House and Purdy Marine Cove in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for a day of indoor exploration while the weather was way too cold to play outside.
The Marine Cove portion is small but includes quite a few tanks with saltwater species and a touch tank of small Horn Sharks, Bamboo Sharks, Horseshoe Crabs and Southern Sting Rays. Thing1 was barely brave enough to touch one of the baby sharks, and Thing2 wasn’t so sure. Be sure to rinse your hands off in the public restrooms before petting any of these animals.
Thing2 was fascinated by the anenomies.
The Butterfly House is what we really came to see. I imagine that this is one of the warmest places in South Dakota on a cold, winter day.
We saw a number of different species of butterflies throughout the day. The boys liked to watch them land on these feeding plates and eat fruit.
We also saw two resident turtles alongside the manmade stream.
I wish that I knew more about butterflies so that I could identify them for you here, but I don’t. These two, though, are Thing2 and Thing1. Their hair is growing cloudy and big from the humidity in the butterfly area.
Little boys like water features for whatever reason.
More butterflies are having lunch.
Thing2 started getting a little antsy around the butterflies after a few flew too near his head and startled him.
Big brothers are an awesome defense against Komakaze butterflies.
This is the best group shot that I got. Makes me look fat, though. The boys look good!
The Sertoma Butterfly House and Purdy Marine Cove also has a children’s reading room and classroom for further adventures. We sat and read some books about plants and nature, and the boys got to see some little critters up close. This lizardguy was showing off his powers of standing perfectly still for Thing1. This was the perfect way to calm down before getting into the car for the long drive home.
Although I didn’t take any photos, the boys also got to pet some rather lovely puppies and rabbits. The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society was set up with an informational table and some animals that day in addition to the regular exhibits.
Admission is reasonable: $8.50 for adults, $5.50 for 5-12 year olds, $3.00 for 3-4 year olds, 2 and under free. If you plan ahead, stop off at any local hotel lobby in the area and you are likely to find a brochure for $1 off admission for one adult.
I should point out that I think that the Fins & Flutters gift shop here is very nice. There are a ton of little inexpensive things so that a child could go home with something from this experience for very little money. I think I spent $5 total on both boys, for some little sticker books with their favorite animals. This is so much better than the attractions that start with things at $20+ for kids.
Everyone went home better educated and happy! We even found some nice educational resources on the organization’s website when we got home (color pages here!). Highly recommended if you happen to be wandering the prairie! Go! Do!
Emily, Doer of Stuff